After Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency changed. As he put it in 1943, “Dr. New Deal” had to be replaced by “Dr. Win the War.” It was a colossal policy switch, but it wasn’t an extreme makeover politically. He was still the same FDR, and the public understood the need for change.
And it saved his presidency. As President Obama’s former economic adviser, Larry Summers, said recently, “Never forget . . . that if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.”
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